"You can't avoid him forever, Louisa. Just tell him you're not interested, and put an end to it."
—Mrs. Charlotte Harris, headmistress
Marry? Never! It would end Louisa North's work with her ladies reform group—and truth be told, she likes her independence very much, despite her royal father's protests. So when Simon Tremaine, the dashing Duke of Foxmoor whom she once loved—and had exiled from England—returns bent on marrying her, she's skeptical. Does he truly care for her, or does he simply want revenge? It's difficult to resist Simon's dangerous charms, because the fire between them still burns as hot as ever. But when his ulterior motive for marriage is exposed, along with the deeply buried secrets of his past, Louisa vows to make him pay ... and the price will be his heart.
I have wanted to read Louisa and Simon's story ever since it was the background story in To Pleasure a Prince. The main couple in that book were Louisa's brother Marcus and Simon's sister Regina, and as such, they both play pretty major roles in this book as well! Without wanting to give too much away Simon broke Louisa's heart, and in this book, he has now returned to London following a successful governorship in India seven years down the track.
The instant that he sees Louisa he knows that she still affects him, despite her protestations. Simon is determined that he will have Louisa as his wife, despite the fact that he knows that he is incapable of loving her, as a result of the bizarre training that his statesman grandfather gave him when he was a young man. The fact that her father (who happens to be the King) is prepared to back his political aims should he be successful in both marrying her, and also in stopping her from her participation in her political group is a bonus.
For the most part I really enjoyed this book, although there was an awful lot of politics in this book, and at time they did get in the way of the love story. For example, there is more than one scene where the amorous activities between the two were used to trade off promises relating to the various political activities that the two of them were undertaking. Having said that, the work that Louisa was involved in in terms of prison reforms was very interesting in it's own right, and was borrowed directly from the pages of history.
Simon's search for documents relating to his cousin dovetailed really nicely with the novella in the School for Heiresses novella which I read earlier this year. Now I need to decide if I want to buy the next book in this series, because my library doesn't have it!
I think I will!